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There are two gifts we should give our children:

One is roots, the other is wings. 

- Unknown

Roots & Wings: A Racial Healing Intensive is a virtual course and immersive experience focused on exploring the psychological impact of racial oppression and religious discrimination, identity and sense of belonging. This course is designed to foster introspection/self-awareness, emotional intelligence, consciousness-raising, positive identity development and healing.

Why Roots & Wings?

The developmental period known as emerging adulthood is one in which young people (18-29) are exploring and making sense of notions of belonging, purpose, and identity. It is marked by transitions in multiple key areas of life. Psychologist Jeffrey Arnett proposed that a distinct feature of this time period is identity exploration in the areas of love, work, and worldview.


One remarkable characteristic of the American Muslim community is that it is one of the youngest religious groups in the United States. Approximately 35-40% of American Muslims are between the ages of 18-30 years old. In the general US population, 18% of Americans comprise this age group. American Muslim young adults who identify as “Millenials” (born between 1981-1999) generally came of age after 9/11. According to Diamant and Gecewicz (2017), these young Muslims are also racially and ethnically diverse, with 17% identifying as Black. An overwhelming majority (65%) of them indicate that religion is very important in their lives and nearly half report attending religious services weekly. Unfortunately, racism and anti-Muslim bigotry represent overwhelming challenges which could make this developmental time period incredibly fraught for American Muslim emerging adults.



35-40% of American Muslims are between the ages of 18-30 years old.



In 2017, the Pew Research Center found that younger Muslims expressed that in the past 12 months, 48% of them had been “treated or viewed with suspicion, called offensive names, singled out by the police, physically attacked or threatened”. In the Institute for Social Policy & Understanding [ISPU]’s 2018 American Muslim Poll, 61% of American Muslim respondents reported religious discrimination and 64% reported experiencing racial discrimination, with Black Muslims and young Muslims (18-25) most likely to report these experiences. One year later, the Institute for Social Policy & Understanding [ISPU] found in their annual American Muslim Poll, “Muslims aged 18-29 report higher levels of religious discrimination (69%)” than Muslims in other age brackets. This discrimination comes in the form of bullying, overt and covert harassment and microaggressions, verbal attacks, exclusion and profiling. Based on these trends, we can anticipate that in this critical moment of racial reckoning, protests in defense of the murders of innocent American citizens and an upcoming election, the need for young Muslims to process these experiences of trauma is important now more than ever.


69% of Muslims aged 18-29 report higher levels of religious discrimination than Muslims in other age brackets. This discrimination comes in the form of bullying, overt and covert harassment and microaggressions, verbal attacks, exclusion and profiling.


According to Mental Health America, “Racial trauma, or race-based traumatic stress (RBTS), refers to the mental and emotional injury caused by encounters with racial bias and ethnic discrimination, racism, and hate crimes. Any individual that has experienced an emotionally painful, sudden, and uncontrollable racist encounter is at risk of suffering from a race-based traumatic stress injury. In the U.S., Black, Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) are most vulnerable due to living under a system of white supremacy. Experiences of race-based discrimination can have detrimental psychological impacts on individuals and their wider communities. In some individuals, prolonged incidents of racism can lead to symptoms like those experienced with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This can look like depression, anger, recurring thoughts of the event, physical reactions (e.g. headaches, chest pains, insomnia), hypervigilance, low-selfesteem, and mentally distancing from the traumatic events. For American Muslim emerging adults, there is an additional burden of managing a “risky” identity as a religious minority, in a society grappling with the implications of Islamophobia and Christian hegemony.


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Aim of Intensive

The aim of the Roots&Wings intensive is to create a dialogue and healing space from which American Muslim emerging adults can gain new skills and awareness related to the racial trauma and assaults on their religious identity. In accordance with Dr. Kenneth V. Hardy’s Healing the Hidden Wounds of Racial Trauma, the course aims to:

  • Deepen awareness of race-related trauma wounds and traumatic stress

  • Build mechanisms to sustainably address internalized devaluation and voicelessness

  • Combat the fundamental assault of self through a series of affirming group exercises and self-care strategies

Program Components

  • 2 – 75min private [confidential] consultations with an experienced psychologist to assess for symptoms of trauma, stress and anxiety

  • 4 – 90 min weekly virtual sessions focused on:

    • Affirmation & Acknowledgement – naming historical roots of oppression in the United States: Racism, White Supremacy & Christian Hegemony

    • Racial and religious identity exploration

    • Identifying and managing wounds of racial trauma and impact of religious discrimination

    • Coping with and resisting racial trauma – Creating a Healing Handbook & Racism Recovery Plan

  • 2 – post-Intensive group dialogues

*all program materials and worksheets will be provided to intensive participants

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Racial oppression and religious discrimination are forms of violence which directly lead to an increase in traumatic stress or racial trauma. The process of healing from that violence is critical to improving individual and collective efficacy. Healing also leads to an improved sense of agency and empowerment which in turns contributes to greater engagement in communal advocacy. Therefore, in this political moment American Muslim young adults must acquire the consciousness, skills and strategies to withstand and pushback against marginalization and oppression. This intensive offers an opportunity for them to acquire understanding of the importance of being grounded - in the:

ROOTS of belonging, faith and identity and 

WINGS of awareness to soar with unapologetic confidence to their fullest potential as human beings.



Will be open soon (Dec 2020) check back often or subscribe to our newsletter for updates!